Clear Your Mind, Improve Focus — Practice Being Mindful

By George Guerin | Fitness Blogger  •

Today I want to discuss being more Mindful, especially during the inevitable year-end madness that is life in our society today. Specifically, I want to detail how important it is to be Mindful — a Buddhism-inspired mental technique that encourages participants to focus on “being in the present” in hopes of leading a less stressful and more productive life — how you can work towards that, what resources are available to help you get started and, finally, the benefits to leading a more mindful life.

Chances are that no matter how stressed we can be, our tendency is NOT to carve out ten minutes here and there to sit quietly and think about being present in the moment. According to the top excuses to not practice mindfulness are 1) It sounds boring; 2) I can’t sit still; 3) I don’t have time; 4) I’m scared to be alone; and 5) My mind is too fast. All valid points. And all screaming of exactly WHY people should pursue becoming more mindful in the first place!
Here are’s top reasons to give it a try anyway: 1) to understand your pain; 2) manage stress; 3) connect better; 4) improve focus; 5) reduce brain chatter.

This year when I was introduced to the different facets of the Foundation for a Mindful Society, which comprises Mindful magazine, the, MindfulDirect videos and conferences, I looked further into this and found this concept really held something that I wanted to pursue as well as share. Severely lacking in our society today is the power to be fully present in whatever it is we are doing; even while out socializing, the tendency is to continue checking email, replying to voice mail, etc. The Foundation for a Mindful Society wants to amend this with their role as a mission-driven nonprofit “dedicated to inspiring, guiding, and connecting all those who want to enjoy the benefits of mindfulness practice, and to create healthier relationships and a more caring society.” Whew! Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Let’s look into this further.

According to Barry Boyce, Mindful’s editor in chief. “Mindfulness is an inherent human ability that we all have, a basic human ability to fully (be) attentive to where we are and what we are doing at any given moment and also, out of that, (to be) more caring. From our point of view, mindfulness is not an add-on to your life. It’s something you already have and can cultivate it further.”

Two Mindful Myths: Mindfulness is just a passing fad. While the media can certainly exploit certain topics (think: natural, organic, green), lately mindfulness has been getting its share of deserved attention. Also, Mindfulness is not exactly the same as meditation, though it certainly includes it in its practice. For example, “traditional mindfulness” is usually performed by focusing on the breath or sensations in the body. There is also “creative mindfulness,” performed by engaging in a specific creative activity like drawing or writing. It’s the strong focus on body, breath, and the specific activities of creating that enable people to become more involved in what they’re doing and find a state of “calm abiding,” with less effort than they would have used just sitting on a chair meditating.
Today I have a challenge for you. Set aside 5 minutes to be alone, preferably in a dark or dimmed room, remove or ignore distractions and watch this video:

When you’re done, take notice. Do you feel more focused, less stressed or better connected to you surroundings? If you view the video, please comment below with positive or negative feedback. I encourage you to discover mindfulness on your own and check out the links I’ve included above. It may be the small, yet significant, tweak you can make to your day that can yield plenty of positive results.

Taking some time to be mindful of where you are at and what you are doing is a step in the right direction to ending the year on a positive note and starting 2016 off with enthusiasm and energy. Now go clear your calendar AND your mind for ten minutes, and apply your thoughts to the power of mindfulness!

focus, meditation, well-being
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The Common Sense Practice of Kindness in the Workplace